Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch says that the coronavirus will not be containable and that 40-70 of people worldwide will be infected.
In an article entitled You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus, the Atlantic explains how the coronavirus is particularly dangerous because it may cause cause no symptoms at all in many carriers of the infection.
According to Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch, this contributes to his prediction that coronavirus “will ultimately not be containable.”
“Lipsitch predicts that, within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19,” reports the Atlantic.
The professor clarifies that this doesn’t mean all of those victims will become seriously ill and that “many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic.”
Lipsitch’s “very, very rough” estimate (banking on “multiple assumptions piled on top of each other”) was that 100 or 200 people in the U.S. were infected. That’s all it would take to seed the disease widely…
As The Atlantic noted, even if Lipsitch’s estimates were off by orders of magnitude, they wouldn’t likely change the overall prognosis.
“Two hundred cases of a flu-like illness during flu season – when you’re not testing for it – is very hard to detect,” Lipsitch said.
“But it would be really good to know sooner rather than later whether that’s correct, or whether we’ve miscalculated something. The only way to do that is by testing.”
However, given the increasingly stringent measures being taken outside of China to stop the spread of the virus, including in Italy where people are being prevented from leaving towns, one wonders how severe the panic will be if there is a massive global pandemic.
As we highlighted earlier, with over 220 cases reported in Italy, store shelves in some areas of the country are already beginning to empty.
Meanwhile, a World Health Organization adviser says that coronavirus could be the widely feared ‘Disease X’ that experts have been warning about for years.
“Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the Disease X category, listed to the WHO’s priority list of diseases for which we need to prepare in our current globalised society,” wrote Prof Marion Koopmans.